Throughout the spring and summer of 2023, approximately 125 SMART Local 105 members were performing HVAC, kitchen, architectural and TAB work on the new home of the Los Angeles Clippers, known officially as the Intuit Dome. The $2 billion project is slated to open for the 2024–2025 NBA season.

SMART’s news team toured the project in May 2023 with Local 105 leaders and members working on the project.

“We’re doing all the HVAC,” said Local 105 journeyperson Mike Duran, who is also a Marine Corps veteran and general foreman with Southland Industries on the arena job. “We’ve got about 1.2 million pounds of ductwork to put in this building. There’s probably about 40 or 50 air handlers.”

The project also has two-and-a-half dozen grease scrubbers and more than 7,000 linear feet of grease duct. “You’ve got hot markets, kitchens, concession stands,” said Duran. “Anything they cook food at, it’ll have a grease hood and it’ll pull the air and filter it and then spit it out of the building.”

He added that the project was on a “fast track,” with all the different trades and thousands of moving parts.

“I think right now there’s 1,100 workers on site. It’s a lot of planning, a lot of logistics to try to make everything and get everything in here.”

Under a project labor agreement (PLA) negotiated for the job, local hiring has been prioritized.

“A goal of a project like this, when it was negotiated through the building trades,” said SMART Local 105 Business Manager/President Steve Hinson, “was to bring people from the community and give them the opportunity to work on a grand structure like this. And give them the opportunity to learn the craft, to learn a trade.”

Hinson underscored that “PLAs have been proven to bring jobs in, using good union labor, on-time and under budget.”

“We’ve got an awesome team out here,” said Duran, “and we all work together for the same goal — to get everything done safely and effectively.”

Duran has been in the sheet metal industry since 1999.

“I came from Local 16 up in Portland,” he said. “My brother worked there and he got me in the trade.”

After apprenticing, Duran joined the Marines, serving for four years — including two tours of duty in Iraq. After leaving the military, he worked for a company providing personal security services in Iraq. He then moved down to southern California, met his wife and got married, and got back into the sheet metal industry with SMART Local 105.

“For somebody that’s coming out of the military,” he added, “that wants to work with their hands and build something, the trades are a great place to go. You can get in, make a good wage, good benefits, provide for your family and be successful. Out of all the trades, I think sheet metal is one of the best ones. We build our own stuff, we install it, we fabricate it.”

Great_Lakes_Airlines_logo_150pxAccording to Aviation Pros, Modesto city officials are negotiating with Great Lakes Airlines about offering flight service to Los Angeles.
Read the complete story here.

Metrolink _Train_Only v2A Metrolink train derailed early Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Oxnard, Calif., after slamming into a truck that was in flames. Twenty-eight people were injured, four critically.

The driver of the truck fled the scene and was taken into custody, officials said.

The train was going 79 mph near the crossing at 5th Street and Rice Avenue at about 5:40 a.m. when its engineer spotted the fiery truck, said Sergio Martinez of the Oxnard Fire Department.

Read the complete story at the Los Angeles Times.

LOS ANGELES — A former Federal Railroad Administration chief safety officer, Jim Schultz, who later became a highly respected safety officer at CSX, is advising Los Angeles Metrolink as it moves to lead the rail industry in installing and implementing a positive train control system on Metrolink’s seven-route, 512-mile system serving the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino and Ventura.

Schultz, who was the FRA’s chief safety officer during the mid-1990s, won substantial praise at CSX during the late 1990s for his efforts — not entirely successful — to end the industry’s 19th century military legacy of top-down management engaging in employee harassment and intimidation to enforce safety rules and regulations.

In its place, Schultz, a former Air Force fighter pilot and Chicago & North Western operating officer, advocated peer intervention and coaching within a progressive corporate culture that recognizes employees do not intentionally violate safety rules and regulations.

Now semi-retired, Schultz is advising the Los Angeles Metrolink board of directors, which last week agreed to award a $120 million contract to Parsons Transportation Group to manage and integrate what the board calls “an aggressive implementation schedule” for PTC.

Recognizing the United Transportation Union’s perennial strong advocacy for positive train control, Schultz accompanied Metrolink CEO John Fenton to Washington, D.C., last week to brief UTU International President Mike Futhey and Alternate National Legislative Director John Risch on Metrolink’s PTC progress.

“Metrolink was the nation’s first rail operator to receive FRA approval for its PTC implementation plan,” Fenton said, and intends to be the “first railroad” to put it in operation. A federal mandate requires that freight and passenger railroads install PTC on designated lines by Dec. 31, 2015.

Positive train control, which has been on the National Transportation Safety Board’s “most wanted” list for more than a decade, is collision avoidance technology that monitors and controls train movements remotely, can prevent train-to-train collisions, prevent unauthorized train movement into a work zone, halt movement of a train through a switch left in the wrong position, and stop trains exceeding authorized speeds.

The Los Angeles Metrolink system, said Fenton, will consist of:

  • PTC on-board computers, display screens, GPS tracking, and radios on 57 cab-cars and 52 locomotives.
  • Stop-enforcement at 476 wayside signals.
  • Specialized communications to link wayside signals, trains and central dispatch.
  • A new central dispatch system.
  • Full interoperability with PTC eventually installed on freight railroads over whose track Metrolink operates — BNSF and Union Pacific.

While at CSX, Schultz said, “More than 150 years of ingrained tradition and culture must be changed” — replaced by “safety advocacy … We must create an open workplace where employees, their labor unions and management work as a team to take advantage of every opportunity to catch and push the company to a zero tolerance for safety breaches.”

Schultz was an early advocate of joint labor-management collaboration to draft improved safety standards, which is now embodied in the mission of the Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), through which all segments of the rail community work together to fashion mutually satisfactory solutions on safety regulatory issues.